Founded or unfounded, event organizers around the world are taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, canceling major festivals, tournaments, conferences, and other large gatherings. Now coronavirus panic is gripping Ireland. All of the country’s St. Patrick’s Day parades, including the one in Dublin, are being canceled to avoid the risk of further spreading the virus. The five-day festival spans the entire country, with parades in many of Ireland’s cities and villages.

The decision to cancel the parades was made after a Monday meeting of the new cabinet sub-committee on the coronavirus. There are 21 confirmed cases in Ireland, and with the Dublin festival alone attracting around 500,000 people, the risk of spread was simply deemed too high.

But even if the parades had gone forward, it’s likely that they would have seen a sharp decline in attendance. Dalata Hotel Group, Ireland’s largest hotel operator, said that it saw a reduction in bookings and an increase in cancellations last month, as wary travelers try to guard themselves against the unpredictable virus.

In 2001, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Cork was postponed due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, but it’s unclear whether this year’s parades will be rescheduled for a later date. Unfortunately, canceling the festivities will not only have severe economic implications but will also likely deal a blow to the morale of citizens.

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